Wednesday 27 June 2018

Since the First World War, those filming in warzones have risked their lives to get close enough to the combat to capture it. The types of equipment they have used to do so have changed over time, from cumbersome and heavy early cameras to lightweight, mobile ones in use in the 21st century. These seven different cameras give an example of what has been used to bring scenes of war to audiences on the home front.

Equipment

1. Moy & Bastie

Equipment

1. Moy & Bastie

This Moy & Bastie cine camera, made of wood and metal, is of the type used by British Official cinematographers working with the armed forces during the First World WarLieutenant Geoffrey Malins and John McDowell used a Moy & Bastie to record memorable footage that was edited into the epic film, The Battle of the Somme. Around 20 million tickets were sold to see the film and it had a huge impact on the British public's perception of the war. The large dimensions of the Moy & Bastie when mounted on its associated tripod, made it very cumbersome. Those operating the camera became easy targets for enemy snipers. Malins and McDowell found it impossible to capture close-ups of men climbing out of their trenches. They consequently filmed staged recreations of 'over the top' scenes for inclusion in the final film.

Equipment

2. De Vry

Equipment

2. De Vry

The De Vry Standard was a rugged, all-metal newsreel-type cine camera. It was nicknamed 'The Lunch Box' because of its rectangular shape. The De Vry was the camera most widely used by members of the British Army Film and Photographic Unit (AFPU) during the Second World War. The portable nature of the camera enabled camera operators to get much closer to the action than in the First World War. The AFPU filmed in every British theatre of operations and included cameramen such as Sergeant George Laws and Sergeant Mike Lewis. Lewis transferred from the Parachute Brigade to the AFPU, and filmed the Battle of Arnhem and the Liberation of Bergen-Belsen.

The De Vry Standard was a rugged, all-metal newsreel-type cine camera, using 33mm 100ft film spools.Using a spring motor, it was nicknamed "The Lunch Box" because of its rectangular shape. The De Vry was the camera most widely used by members of the British Army Film and Photographic Unit during the Second World War.
Equipment

3. Cunningham Combat Camera

Equipment

3. Cunningham Combat Camera

The Cunningham Combat Camera was named after Harry Cunningham, the camera engineer who designed and built it during the Second World War. Made from magnesium, it was a lightweight design which made it ideal for filming live combat footage. Features included special grip handles and a rifle stock which ensured it was steady enough for hand-held use in the field. It was electric-powered and ran off small batteries, had a four-lens turret and lenses robust enough for use in tough conditions. However, the camera was not widely used and only came into service late in the war.

camera, box, battery cable, film magazine, filter, 5 rollers, battery pouch Green painted metal body, top mounted viewfinder, twin side grips, webbing carrying sling, film cassette, four lens turret with three lenses. Could run at 16, 24 032 fps. Note found in box says it was "used in Vietnam" (this particular camera or just the type ? tbc)
Equipment

4. Eyemo

Equipment

4. Eyemo

The Eyemo was a popular camera model during the Second World War. Manufactured by Bell & Howell, its benefits were its small size and robustness. However, it was also cumbersome. Both the camera and the film rolls it used were heavy and, in order to shoot steady footage, a tripod was needed. Eager to get to the action as quickly as they could, cameramen often dispensed with the tripod. As with other wind-up cameras, breaks in filming occurred as the camera operator rewound it. Despite these issues, the Eyemo was hugely in demand during the war and was used by the US Armed Forces in particular. This type of Eyemo camera was especially favoured by those filming from night-bombers. However, the user of this example made documentary shorts for the Crown Film Unit.

Equipment

5. Cine-Kodak

Equipment

5. Cine-Kodak

This Cine-Kodak Eight Model 20 cine camera was used by Royal Navy officer Norman Tod to film various events during the Second World War. He served aboard HMS Ajax and HMS Norfolk and his amateur footage includes the aftermath of the Battle of the River Plate. The Cine-Kodak first appeared in 1923 and this, less pricey, model was introduced in 1932. They were popular for home movie-makers during the 1930s. This example is complete with a case, instructions, condensed instructions, an exposure guide and a filter guide.

Equipment

6. Newman Sinclair

Equipment

6. Newman Sinclair

This camera was used by British Paramount News cameraman Ian Duncan Struthers during the Second World War. Struthers filmed in North Africa, Italy and North West Europe for Paramount from 1942 to 1945. Manufactured by London firm Newman & Sinclair, the camera's relatively lightweight design made it a favourite of documentary-makers and news cameramen.

This camera (no 228) was used by British Paramount News cameraman Ian D Struthers in North Africa, Italy and North West Europe from 1942 to 1945.

7. Sony video camera

Sony video camera used to film 'Restrepo'. © Tim Hetherington Trust.
Sony video camera used to film 'Restrepo'. © Tim Hetherington Trust.

7. Sony video camera

Photojournalist Tim Hetherington used this Sony video camera to film in Afghanistan in 2007 and 2008. He captured footage of US soldiers at a US Army base called 'Restrepo' in the dangerous Korengal Valley region of north-eastern Afghanistan. The outpost was named for US Army medic Private First Class Juan Restrepo, who had been killed in action. Hetherington and journalist Sebastian Junger were embedded with the 503rd Infantry Regiment for a year, and their resulting footage was made into a documentary film, Restrepo, released in cinemas in 2010. It portrays both the violent and the light-hearted sides of war, and includes scenes of the reality of service in the front line. Hetherington was killed while reporting from the besieged city of Misrata, Libya, during the 2011 Libyan Civil War.

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Evacuated troops on a destroyer about to berth at Dover, 31 May 1940.
Second World War
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When the Second World War broke out in September 1939, just one Army photographer, Geoffrey Keating, and one cameraman, Harry Rignold, accompanied the British Expeditionary Force to France. On 24 October 1941, the Army agreed to form a corps of trained photographers and cameramen.